In spite of a slowdown in many investment banking businesses towards the end of the year, pay levels for 2000 are set to smash previous records. Research by TMP Worldwide, a headhunting firm specialising in financial services, suggests that bonus pools at financial firms will rise 10-50% from 1999.
The study was conducted before the latest bonus round which began a fortnight ago and still has weeks to run - but provides a glimpse into the market for banking talent.
The growth in pay reflected booming business in the first half of 2000, as well as two unusual factors that distorted the market to young bankers' advantage. A high level of merger activity between banks encouraged managements to use hefty pay packages to retain staff. Earlier in the year, younger staff were locked in to prevent them deserting to internet related ventures.